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Ratings Five-Spot - Man Up!, World Series, Jersey Shore, Rules of Engagement, Once Upon a Time

Here's the Ratings Five-Spot for the week ending October 23, 2011:

  • Man Up! - Last week, I took a look at ABC's one-hour launch of Tuesday 8/7c comedy Last Man Standing. In week two, ABC shrunk Last Man Standing back to a half-hour and launched another new comedy, Man Up!, at 8:30. Last Man Standing held up pretty decently (its 3.1 A18-49 rating was down by 0.5 from the one-hour average but just 0.3 from the average in the 8:00 half hour). But Man Up! took a dive, pulling just 7.78 million viewers and a 2.4 demo rating. That could conceivably be OK if it were a middle-of-the-season rating, but to drop by more than 25% on series premiere night is not promising. The margin of error is pretty slim right out of the gate for this show.
  • World Series - I try to mostly stick to scripted TV on the Five-Spots since I know that's SpoilerTV's specialty, but the ongoing World Series is a big part of the landscape around this time of year. So far, the Series has been about even with last year's historically low-rated Series. In adults 18-49, the first four games have gone 4.2 (-11% from last year), 4.0 (even), 3.2 (+10%) and 4.2 (-2%). Fox has mentioned on a couple occasions that the total viewer counts have been more favorable, but the other way of looking at that is that the baseball audience just keeps getting older. It's increasingly becoming a game for the 50+ crowd. The good news for this year's Series? It's shaping up to be a long one. It's already definitely going at least one more game than last year's five-gamer, and a Cardinals win on Wednesday night would clinch baseball's first full seven-game Series since 2002. Games six and potentially seven would bring huge upticks from the ratings of the first five games.
  • Jersey Shore - Is the Jersey Shore phenomenon finally on the downswing? The summer/fall 2011 season began quite nicely, with the season four premiere actually up a little bit from season three's bow. But most results in the back half of the season were down from their corresponding episodes in season 3, and the finale last Thursday (6.64 million viewers, 3.7 A18-49 rating) was down by nearly a million viewers and about 10% in A18-49 from season three's finale. The show did suffer a bit once the full-fledged regular season competition arrived, but then all of season three came against regular season competition. Perhaps this show has peaked, but to keep things in perspective: it's still bigger in 18-49 than most programs on the big broadcast networks.
  • Rules of Engagement - I noted a few weeks ago that new CBS comedy How to Be a Gentleman, despite posting numbers that didn't really look so bad, was actually a pretty big failure because almost anything would do better in that timeslot with that huge Big Bang Theory lead-in. This Thursday, almost anything did. Rules of Engagement returned to the CBS schedule with 11.45 million viewers and a 3.6 A18-49 rating. That's a 44% better demo rating than what How to Be a Gentleman got in the timeslot two weeks ago! Even that 3.6 is still a less than sensational performance because it lost almost 30% of The Big Bang Theory's demo. It also didn't have to face usual competition like The X Factor and Parks & Recreation. But it's an obvious improvement on Gentleman and should suffice for awhile. Meanwhile, How to Be a Gentleman got pushed to Saturday and, after scoring a 0.7 demo in its Saturday debut, got pulled from the schedule entirely.
  • Once Upon a Time - It seems almost every broadcast TV season brings at least one big opening number from a science fiction/fantasy drama. This year, that distinction belongs to ABC's Once Upon a Time, which scored 12.93 million viewers and a 4.0 adults 18-49 rating in its debut on Sunday. That made it by far the biggest 18-49 drama opening of the 2011-12 season to date (previous high was Revenge (3.3)), and it was also bigger than any 2010-11 drama debut (the high that year was Hawaii Five-0 (3.9)). You have to go all the way back to V in November 2009 (5.2) to find a bigger one. So does this mean it's a guaranteed hit? Far from it. In fact, most recent big genre drama openings have fizzled, from Bionic Woman (5.7) to Flashforward (4.0) to The Event (3.6). So all we can say right now is that it's gotten a great sampling, and now we get to see if the viewers liked what they saw.
For more in-depth TV ratings coverage every day, check out my blog at SpottedRatings.com or follow me on Twitter: @spotupj.

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